• Whither Georgia?

    Ed Kilgore's got a good post on the "Who Lost the South?" debate that folks interested in the subject should probably read. I think his points lines up well with my argument that the Civil Rights Act destroyed the region's Democratic identification, but it's the culture clash and the Party ID, not the racial politics, which still hold us back years later. The reason McGovern matters, though, is that 1968 and the McGovern convention really pounded that split home. It was right after Wallace had peeled off our supporters and suddenly we were running a guy who, for all his other attributes, struck this region as an alien life form. As Kilgore notes, Jimmy Carter provided a welcome interruption by being a Southern, religious, former naval officer, but his perceived wimpiness in the executive's chair ended up reinforcing our problems -- even when we run a tough guy, they'll govern like a scared child. Reagan, of course, codified the split in 1980, creating Reagan Democrats, who today are...
  • Pat Robertson Just Needs a Good Spanking

    Josh Marshall says : Okay, so Pat Robertson now says he's sorry for calling for the assassination of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. But sometimes when a child keeps acting out and we find that the parents have continued to indulge the misbehavior rather asserting some discipline or control, we rightly conclude that the real fault lies with the parents rather than with the child. Calling Dr. Dobson: The most common error is inconsistent discipline. According to Dr. Dobson, if the rules change every day or if there isn’t an inevitable consequence to be anticipated for wrong actions, then a child might see if he can “beat the system.” The key to effective discipline is knowing your child. Some kids can be brought to tears with a stern look, while others seem to require strong disciplinary measures to make a vivid impression. “It is possible for twice the amount of punishment to yield half of the results,” Dr. Dobson says.
  • Great Moments In Celebrity Political Commentary

    This one's from Tara Reid: TARA: I wish all the mean people, if you want to be mean to each other, just buy a country together and blow each other up. Then we’d have no terrorists left. Like, don’t kill innocent people for no reason. It’s not fair. We love everybody. We’d even like them if they said they’re sorry. It’s not fair that innocent people are getting hurt. It makes me sad. [pouts] Reminds me of Anna Nicole Smith's verdict on suicide bombers: "Don't they know that hurts!?"
  • The Politics of Withdrawal

    Armando and Jerome are talking about the politics of withdrawal, which is about where my mind has settled recently. For all the reasons I've laid out, and for all the better reasons others have laid out, I'm firmly convinced that our continued, indefinite presence in the country achieves absolutely nothing. On the other hand, I'm similarly certain that an inept or overly fatalist call for withdrawal will be marketed to the American people as retreat, and retreat is not the sort of sentiment that wins elections. Yeah, that's craven, but once you know what you want to do, you have to think about how it sells. Americans aren't particularly pleased with the war, but nor are they ever willing to vote for a loss. If Democrats stand on one side of the stage and talk about our unwinnable quagmire and Republicans stand on the other and explain how, yes, mistakes were made, but we can still finish the job, and General Know-Nothing says we're just a few months from completion and can't turn away...
  • The Great White Hope

    How bad is our health care system? Bad enough that Canadian doctors, who get paid twice as much if they practice here rather than there, are fleeing back north. Fantastic.
  • Fulfilling My Google-Given Doodies

    I just got a hit from a Google search of the term "What does it mean when you pee and it hurts?" Turns out I'm the first result . Huh. Well, with great power comes great responsibility, so I feel I should offer some counsel to those here on urine-related grounds. The question of what an aching, stabbing, or otherwise excruciating sensation during urination means has long plagued mankind. From Socrates to Kant, Dante to Roth, our greatest thinkers have cogitated and puzzled, wondered and fretted over the psychospiritual import of burning bladders. Everything from bad humours to an excess of bile to demons have been blamed so, I'm glad to report that in this century we have finally reached consensus. What does it mean if it hurts to pee? Nothing good. Go see a doctor. And wear a condom, for chrissake.
  • Why 1972 Matters

    Matt's got an interesting post on the McGovern realignment, which basically argues that the actual realignment happened four years before, when Nixon and Wallace left Humphrey with a mere 42% of the vote. That it split three ways made it look more like an anomaly and less like a phase shift. But Nixon's landslide in 1972 came from getting the Wallace voters, and we wrongly ascribed that to McGovern's Vietnam position, rather than the logical extension of 1968. That's correct, but only to a point. As a historical point, Matt's quite right. But insofar as it affects modern elections, the South is no longer, by and large, voting against us because they don't like black folks. What we're dealing with instead is party identification, law-and-order preferences, religious issues, and an aggressive military culture. Since Democrats aren't Republicans, are considered soft on crime, questioning towards authority, hostile to Christianity, uncomfortable with the armed forces, and condescending...
  • He's All Learned and Stuff

    Matt Holt dives of Gladwell's springboard to teach you more about HSA's, cost-sharing, and the conservative attack on social insurance than you ever thought you wanted to know. Read him.
  • When the First Disgruntled Caveman Killed the First Imperious Caveleader, Chavez Was There

    Most of you in blogland would argue that, considering the ethics of Robertson's call for assassination, he makes a pretty poor theologian. Well, as Jeff Dubner explains , he makes a really queer historian as well. And yes, 50% of this post was simply me desire to describe Pat Robertson as queer. BUt read the Dubner post anyway, it's really, really funny.
  • Feingold on Health Care

    I talked yesterday about how liberals are losing the essential arguments for health care in this country. The day before, I went to a forum with Russ Feingold. His speech was mainly on Iraq, but he mentioned that the top domestic concern of his constituents was health care so, when Q&A came, I asked how he'd fix it. His answer shows where we've fallen to. This is paraphrased, but accurate: I've always been for single payer. In the Senate, it was me and Paul Wellstone, we sponsored the bill. But recently, I came to the same conclusion Paul did towards the end of his life, which is that we need to establish a universal floor, but after that, give each state full autonomy over their programs. We don't need a big federal bureaucracy doing this, we need to rely, instead, on the "genius of the states" and let them experiment and decide what's best. Let's break that down a bit. He's for single payer. His alliance with Wellstone is used to give that cred. But when he gets into his actual...